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March 24, 2010 > Wild for wildflowers

Wild for wildflowers

By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By courtesy of Isa Polt-Jones/EBRPD

Spring has just sprung, and Sunol's seventh annual Spring Wildflower Festival on March 27 is the perfect way to welcome a new season of sunshine and greenery. Between slideshows, hikes, arts and crafts, and more, the festival is sure to have something to interest people of all ages.

A variety of wildflowers, including fiddleneck and lupine bush are currently blooming at Sunol Regional Wilderness. At the Old Green Barn Visitor Center, park naturalists will explain how to identify these different flowers and where the best places to find them are. Hikes will be offered throughout the course of the festival, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so that visitors will be able to see the wildflower blooms for themselves. As an additional bonus, hikers might encounter a variety of wildlife, including black-tailed deer and red-tailed hawks on their wildflower treks throughout the park.

These hikes will all vary in topic and difficulty; one will take participants to Little Yosemite waterfall (Canyon View Trail, 1.39 miles one-way) and another will discuss ethnobotany, or how plants are used and managed in human societies (as in food, medicine, dyes, etc.)

As a family-friendly event, the festival will also give children the opportunity to make craft projects and have their faces painted in addition to going on kid-friendly hikes. The central area of the festival, located near the Old Green Barn Visitor Center, will also have music, informational booths, and more. The only thing the festival will not provide is a concessions stand, so participants are encouraged to bring lunch and enjoy a picnic surrounded by flora and fauna.

The Spring Wildflower Festival is free to the public, although the park's $5 parking fee still applies. No registration is required, and anyone interested in learning about the Bay Area's wildflowers is encouraged to drop by anytime.

To reach the park: From the Fremont area, drive north on I-680 and exit at Calaveras Road (or drive through Niles Canyon). Turn right on Calaveras and proceed four miles. Turn left on Geary Road, which leads two miles directly into the park.

Spring Wildflower Festival
Saturday, March 27
11a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunol Regional Wilderness
Old Green Barn Visitor Center
(510) 544-3240
www.ebparks.org

Event free to the public, parking $5

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